Paola Pivi’s American Moment

Written by
Joseph Giovanni

Paola Pivi’s sculpture “You know who I am,” a replica of the Statue of Liberty with an emoji-like mask of a child’s face, on the High Line in Manhattan, seen from 10th Avenue.

Folks out for a stroll on the High Line this week are pulling out their iPhones to photograph a quizzical new sculpture, “You know who I am,” at the end of a rail spur in a valley of buildings at West 16th Street. Measured to the torch, the 16-foot-tall bronze copy of the Statue of Liberty — her classical face and straight Greek nose fitted with an emoji-like mask of an Asian boy — stands like a question mark asking visitors to connect two incongruous dots: the draped, classical figure that everyone knows, and a cartoon face with a button nose and startled eyes.

The Italian-born artist Paola Pivi took one of America’s most familiar symbols and made it new and strange. First she meticulously copied the figure down to her fingernails from a plaster cast taken from an original bronze by the French sculptor Frédéric- Auguste Bartholdi. With the mask, she gave the statue — commissioned by the High Line — a different age, race and gender, at the same time coupling her bronze figure to a harrowing story originating in India. Instead of a generalized tale of tired and poor “huddled masses,” the mask tells the story of a single, vulnerable orphan.

Read More Here.

Any questions?